When we moved to England, I had to quit my teaching job. For the move back to Texas, I'm busy trying to land a teaching job. And it's such a perverse thing. This time last year I was bemoaning the fact that there were quite a few jobs that interested me in the not-so-large school district where we live. Last year it was feast and this year it's famine.
Every danged vacancy posted on the district's human resources page of job listings this spring is either secondary science or math. Sad, but true - the 6th gr daughter's math sometimes requires me to read through the book in order to remember the concept so I can explain it to her if she needs homework assistance. I'm a history and language arts gal. Math and science give me the heebie jeebies. If I was faced with teaching math/science or living in a cardboard house beneath the interstate overpass, I swear the refrigerator box would win.
Since I passed the special education state certification test in December when we were in Texas for the Christmas holidays, I got called for a special ed interview a few weeks ago at an elementary about four blocks from my Texas house. I could walk to school on pretty days. I could run home at lunch for a quick bite to eat and let the dog out for a potty break. However, I had to turn down the interview because it was for a kindergarten to grade 2 teacher.
The little ones are almost as scary to contemplate as math and science. Those aren't my peeps, definitely not my target audience. Grades 4-8 are my comfort zone, the ones I enjoy. They're old enough to make it to the restroom or at least trash can before throwing up. They can still be motivated by a piece of sugarless gum or free drawing time. Through grade 8, you can usually shoot them the evil eye or threaten to call their parents and rest assured it will work.
Today I had a phone interview for a different elementary school in our district looking for a special ed teacher to work with grades 4-6. I've never done a phone interview before and I must say I didn't like it. You learn so much from face-to-face interaction and so the phone is sorely lacking. I couldn't get a really good feel for them (principal, assistant principal and special ed lead teacher) and so of course they couldn't get a sound impression of me, either. I found myself gesturing when I was answering their questions, casting my eyes around our home office in England to make personal contact with a live audience that didn't exist.
I don't know that I'll get an offer for this job. But, honestly, I don't have a strong feeling about whether or not I'll be bothered if I'm passed over for someone else. Being happy in my chosen profession is as much about my campus environment and co-workers as it is about the actual instruction and interaction with students. Doing a good job in the classroom takes a piece of my heart, a solid investment of my time and energy to do the best possible job I can. Either go big or get the hell back to the house and leave it for the folks who are committed to excellence. So we'll see - maybe I will be employed by this time next week and maybe I'll still be looking. At this point, your guess is as good as mine.